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cervical cancer screening, farmwomen, occupational health



  1. Carruth, Ann K.
  2. Browning, Steven
  3. Reed, Deborah B.
  4. Skarke, Lana
  5. Sealey, Lorinda


Background: Rural residence, access to healthcare facilities, and multiple roles of farmwomen may pose barriers to cervical cancer screening among women living in southern farm states.


Objectives: To compare the proportion of women failing to obtain cervical cancer screening in three Southern states to state-level Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data and to identify factors contributing to cervical cancer screening and detection behaviors.


Methods: A cross-sectional study design was used. Data were collected using several Farm Family Health and Injury Prevention surveys via telephone interviews in three southern states. Farmwomen (N = 2,324) from three states comprised the sample on Pap testing.


Data were used from summary reports of the BRFSS for each state to compare the proportion of farmwomen >=18 years of age who had failed to obtain a Pap test within the past 3 years to failure to obtain Pap tests statewide. Multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the predictors of failure to obtain early screening.


Results: Pap testing did not meet Healthy People 2010 target goal of 90%. Farm lifestyle predicting failure to obtain cervical cancer screening included having a house on the farm and engaging in no off-farm work and minimal involvement in farm tasks. The risk of failing to obtain Pap testing increased with age and decreased with education. The only health access variable contributing to failure to obtain Pap testing was women with no insurance. Positive preventive risk factors contributing to compliance with up-to-date status were previous mammogram and previous breast exam. Being married was a positive risk factor.


Discussion: Although the failure to obtain Pap testing in Texas was comparable to state BRFSS rates, failure to obtain Pap testing rates in Kentucky and Louisiana were at least 6% greater for farmwomen than women living in the state. Farmwomen, a subgroup of the rural population, have unique barriers to obtaining screening services. Geographical isolation and minimal role involvement on the farm may contribute to the likelihood that women are not seeking cervical cancer screening.